- Author: Therese Kapaun
Dr. William Cheung is a chemist working for the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, UC Davis. In this photo he is sampling a navel orange tree at Lindcove REC that is infected with Citrus Tristeza Virus (CTV). He is using a device that utilizes Differential Mobility Spectrometry (DMS) to detect diseased plants that appear healthy. Stressed or diseased plants release unique volatile organic metabolites resulting from host-plant interactions, which can be detected by DMS. The device fits into the small metal case pictured here, and is connected to a laptop PC. Dr. Cheung’s group is currently testing a similar DMS device to detect Huanglongbing (HLB) in Florida citrus. The group hopes to develop a robotic platform that will automatically move the device throughout an orchard, sampling each tree as it moves along.